Taking the PASS Mission on the Road

I love talking about SQL Server and PASS. Spreading the message of incredible value that they both bring to the lives of database pros has taken me around the globe several times in the past 2 years. (You can trace my PASS-related travels at the end of this post.)
 
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Kathmandu, Nepal, for the first time at the invitation of my friend Allen Bailochan Tuladhar, Country Manager of Microsoft MDP in Nepal. I had heard a lot about Allen's work in the Nepal community and was eager to see it firsthand.

Allen had organized three get-togethers for us: a breakfast with CEOs from local businesses and financial and government organizations, a discussion with area college students, and a session with the local PASS Chapter in Kathmandu. But my visit began with an inspirational tour of Kathmandu and surrounding areas, courtesy of Rumi from Allen's office. We drove to the ancient city of Bhaktapur, a former capital of Nepal with beautiful temples and breathtaking wood, metal, and stonework. I then took Pinal Dave’s advice and visited the Pashupatinath Temple, one of the oldest and holiest Hindu shrines in the world, located on the banks of the Bagmati river in eastern Kathmandu. The heritage and culture at both locations were amazing, and I was even more excited to meet with business leaders and fellow SQL Server enthusiasts from this wonderful area.
 
The next day, Allen kicked off the CEO breakfast talking about the Top 10 wishes that people have. Interestingly, time travel made the list—I, for one, would love to be able to teleport given my life on airplanes (175k+ miles last year). I then discussed the value that business intelligence could bring to businesses, industry trends, and the value of the Microsoft BI Platform, including SQL Server and Office. I also walked through some high-level demos to illustrate the continuum from managed to self-service BI.

From talking with leaders at the pinnacle of their careers, we then moved to our meeting with students just starting out. I talked to more than 100 enthusiastic technology students representing 5-6 colleges in and around Kathmandu about data, databases, career opportunities in the database profession, and why they should consider learning about the SQL Server platform while in school.

Allen and I highlighted various resources that students could easily take advantage of to learn about SQL Server. I encouraged them to get involved in a local PASS Chapter and get their hands on the platform for free by trying out the SQL Server 2008 R2 Hosted Trial labs at PreviewSQLServer.com, sponsored by Dell, MaximumASP, Microsoft, and PASS. Allen reminded the students that they have access to free software from Microsoft. He also proposed creating certification study groups to help students achieve certifications. In addition, we talked about the potential of finding mentors for the students from the local SQL Server user group. Allen’s amazing work with students across Nepal to evangelize Microsoft products and build the next generation of users gave me some great ideas for PASS and our local and virtual Chapters.

My last event of the day was a presentation at the Nepal SQL Server Users Group on new self-service reporting and BI features in SQL Server 2008 R2. After the presentation and an active Q&A session, we had a great time socializing and networking over tea and snacks.
 
My day ended perfectly with dinner at the Nepali Chulo, a traditional restaurant with colorful décor and traditional Nepalese music and dances. I left for Mumbai the next morning with wonderful memories of magical places and warm and friendly people excited about how SQL Server and PASS can improve their businesses and their careers.

The work Allen is doing in Nepal to evangelize SQL Server and other Microsoft products is fantastic, and I look forward to more interaction with the Nepal SQL Server community in the future. And whether you’re on the road for business or pleasure, I encourage you to make time to visit a local PASS Chapter and connect with fellow SQL Server community members. We have a lot to learn from—and share with—each other.
—Rushabh Mehta
PASS President
 
 
A quick look at the Chapters, SQLSaturdays, and other PASS events I’ve spoken at in the past 2 years:
 
2010
Sri Lanka SQL Server User Group, Colombo (Feb ’10)
Burlington, Vermont UG (Mar ’10)
SQLSaturday #33, Charlotte, NC (Mar ’10)
Tampa SQL BI UG (Mar ’10)
PASS European Conference, Neuss, Germany (Apr ’10)
24 Hours of PASS (May ’10)
Nepal SQL Server UG (May ’10)
SQLSaturday #22 Pensacola, FL (Jun ’10)
 
2009
SQLSaturday #10, Tampa (Jan ’09)
Sri Lanka CEO Forum (Jan ’09)
SQL Server UG, Ottawa, Canada (Mar ’09)
PASS European Conference, Dusseldorf (Apr ’09)
SQL Server UG, Sarasota, FL (Apr ’09)
SQL Server UG, Ahmedabad, India (May ’09)
Sri Lanka Technology Forum (Jun ’09)
PASS BI SIG Live Meeting (Jul ’09)
SQL Server UG, Toronto, Canada (Oct ’09)
PASS Summit 2009 (Nov ’09)